The Coolidge Cup

2019 Coolidge Cup championship round debaters Ezra Schrader (left) and Joshua Anumolu (right)

COVID-19 Notice

As of now, we are still planning to hold the 2020 Coolidge Cup in Vermont in July as scheduled. We are optimistic that conditions with respect to the coronavirus will improve, however if guidance regarding large gatherings remains unchanged and we determine that we cannot safely continue with the tournament, then we will make a decision to that effect and announce it broadly. Thank you for your understanding.


The Coolidge Cup is a national debate tournament sponsored by the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation. Debaters qualify through various preliminary competitions across the country for a chance to compete in the Coolidge Cup tournament, held in President Coolidge’s historic hometown of Plymouth, Vermont. The tournament takes place each year during the week of the Fourth of July. A total of $15,000 in scholarship prize money is awarded to the top finishers. The key dates in the Coolidge Cup process are:

  • September to May: Debaters qualify for the Coolidge Cup via various tournaments nationally
  • Saturday, May 2nd: The resolution for the Coolidge Cup is posted online
  • Saturday, June 1st: The research brief for the Coolidge Cup is posted online
  • Sunday, May 31st: Deadline for debaters to notify the Foundation of their intent to compete
  • Wednesday, June 3rd: Coolidge Cup preview / Q&A webinar at 8pm ET (link to follow)
  • Sunday, June 7th: Once you’ve decided on your travel plans, fill out our registration form
  • July 1st-5th: Coolidge Cup takes place in Plymouth, VT


To compete in the Coolidge Cup, debaters must qualify either through a designated preliminary competition or through the Coolidge Cup application process, which includes a video submission. Approximately 80-90 debaters will compete at the Coolidge Cup. All Coolidge Cup competitors must be in grades 9-12 during the 2019-2020 academic year.

How to Qualify

The Coolidge Cup is an invitational tournament. To earn an invitation, debaters must be a top placer in one of our Qualifying Tournaments, which includes our multiple online competitions. The one other way to receive an invitation is to have been an Octofinalist at the previous year’s Coolidge Cup.

How to Register Once You Have Qualified

If you have earned an invitation to the Coolidge Cup and you have accepted it by notifying Debate Director Jared Rhoads, then your next step to confirming your spot is to fill out the 2020 Coolidge Cup Registration Form. This form asks you for a lot of information, including your travel plans, so you should figure out all of those details first, and then fill out this form.

If anything changes with your plans after you’ve already submitted this form, you can email Mr. Rob Hammer  ( and we will make the changes in our database. Please note that this registration form is only for debaters who have been given an invitation and who have accepted their invitation. If you are unsure whether you have received or accepted and invitation to the Coolidge Cup, please email Debate Director Jared Rhoads (


A total of $15,000 in scholarship prizes will be awarded at the 2020 Coolidge Cup. The overall Coolidge Cup champion receives the $7,500 Robert L. Luddy Coolidge Cup Scholarship. The runner-up receives $3,500. Third and fourth place finishers each receive $1,000. The 5th through 8th place finishers receive prizes of $500 each. We also recognize all Octofinalists (top 16 finishers) with a special Coolidge gift, as well as the top ten speakers based on speaker points.

Tournament Format

The Coolidge Cup tournament has six preliminary rounds of debate. After six preliminary rounds, the top 32 debaters based on win-loss record (first criterion) and speaker points (second criterion) advance to the elimination bracket. From this point forward, the tournament proceeds elimination-style by way of Double Octofinals, Octofinals, Quarterfinals, Semifinals, and finally the Championship round.

Debate Format and Style

At the Coolidge Cup, debaters representing a diverse array of formats come to compete against each other. We attract students from Congress, Parli, Lincoln-Douglas, Public Forum, Policy, World Schools, and more. At the Coolidge Cup, debaters compete in a one-on-one format that we call the Coolidge Debate Format (1v1). The Coolidge Cup Debate Guide provides details about the format, style, and rules of the Coolidge Cup. A few weeks before the tournament, we will hold a conference call that is open to all debaters and their coaches. That is a great time to ask questions about the format and what to expect with regard to judging, and so forth.

Resolution & Research Brief

The resolution for the 2020 Coolidge Cup will be announced on Saturday, May 2nd. Check back then. We will also post a research brief on Saturday, June 1st, to help debaters orient themselves to the topic and begin to craft their cases.


All lodging, dining, and local transportation costs for debaters will be covered by the Coolidge Foundation. The Coolidge Foundation will also cover the travel costs to and from the tournament for qualifiers. Although the Coolidge Foundation is not able to cover the cost of travel for parents or debate coaches, we welcome them to attend the tournament.

Volunteer to Judge at the Coolidge Cup

The Coolidge Foundation highly values the idea of the “citizen judge,” as we believe that good debating and good communication should be aimed at making a logical case that any person can understand. Volunteer judges do not need any prior experience in debate or debate judging. If you are interested in judging, take a look at our Information for Coolidge Cup Judges. We offer all the judge training you need in order to judge. If you can join us in Vermont in July, please Register to Judge the Coolidge Cup.


2018 Coolidge Cup winners with Robert L. Luddy, Maria Luddy, Ben Voth, and Jared Rhoads